It is remarkable what can be achieved in a relatively short period of time, with leadership, focus and resources. Rewind the clock to 2008-2009 and many observers were writing the community’s obituary. After all, a series of business closings – triggered by firms linked to the automotive and durable goods manufacturing sector – created an economic tailspin. Double-digit unemployment, record commercial and industrial vacancy rates, a tanking residential market and a tsunami of human services needs exceeded even the most well capitalized organizations.

Now more than a decade later, visible signs of this preparation and positioning are continually paying dividends. The negative economic indicators from the past are now replaced with positive trends, fueled by a steady stream of economic activities: more than $2 billion in new capital investments have been committed; over 12 million square feet of new or formerly vacant commercial and industrial space is occupied; and more than 6,500 new full-time jobs are the anticipated net gain once those projects reach their full operational capacities.

The following list represents a preliminary snapshot of the high-level goals attributed to this 5.0 initiative. As the effort moves forward, these goals will be refined, sharpened and communicated, accordingly.

Effectively communicate the community’s vision through a single voice.
Improve the community’s image by instilling a feeling of perpetual optimism and providing examples of success in economic development.
Establish and strengthen Business-to-Business relationships and demand-driven workforce solutions.
Identify, explore and leverage business and investment connections that provide direct access to decision makers.
Create, compile and update real-time, marketplace data that is recognized as providing meaningful, value-added information.

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